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Israeli army invades Nablus, targets medical workers

January 4, 2007

Tear gas raining down on the people of Nablus

Five international Human Rights Workers from Britain, Sweden, Italy and the United States continue to maintain a presence in the invaded city of Nablus, assisting Palestinian Medical teams.

Early yesterday morning the Israeli Army invaded the city of Nablus, injuring at least 54 civilians, killing one man, arresting 15 people, and detaining over 50 medical workers. The Army fired its first shots just after midnight, January 2, and has maintained a presence since then. The Army has deployed over 100 military vehicles, including Special Forces and Border Police, to the Old City and surrounding neighborhoods. This invasion comes just 24 hours after Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and his Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, visited the city.

Bullet holes from live ammunition shot at ambulances

Medical workers were specifically targeted, with 56 detained and at least 8 injured. One of the medics was released this morning, while others continue to be held at the Huwarra checkpoint. The Army fired live ammunition on the windshield of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) vehicle and threw a tear gas bomb into another medical vehicle. During the day yesterday, ambulances were denied entry to roads near the Old City and City Center of Nablus, preventing medical personnel from being able respond to injured civilians. The Army also occupied Rafedia hospital, in violation of international law. Ma’an News reports that medic Ahmad Jibril received a rubber bullet to his back, while medics Diya’ Balbisi and Tariq As-Sabuh were both wounded by Israeli gunfire.

Tear gas fired at kids resisting tanks with stones

One of the more severe injuries was to a young boy shot in the face by the Army with live ammunition. Medical workers say he is currently in the Intensive Care Unit in critical condition. Other children were gassed, and the Army fired both rubber bullets and sound bombs into civilian crowds. Human Rights Workers escorted a family to their home in the Nablus city center after tear gas exploded near their baby carriage.

Later in the evening, Human Rights Workers escorted a 9 year old girl back to her home in the Old City. The girl, one of the few allowed through the Huwarra checkpoint yesterday, had been receiving cancer treatment in Ramallah. As of 11:00 am, January 4, all checkpoints to the city remain closed.

Bulldozers destroying shops

Two Human Rights Workers and one Palestinian medic were detained for several hours in the besieged Old City. The soldiers confiscated the medic’s Palestinian identification and the international passports, refusing to surrender all three until the Italian Embassy got involved.

At least 15 homes in the Old City have been occupied by the Army, with residents trapped inside. Some shops have been demolished. Human Rights Workers witnessed the Army fire live ammunition at parked vehicles and urinate in the streets. In the evening, military bulldozers cruised the downtown area.

Aftermath of a occupied house